It was exciting but at the same time scary. It was exciting because I was coming to a new country with a different culture, different people who speak a different language. It was also scary because I did not have my family around whom I could go to when in difficulties. I remember my mom telling me not to worry, that I will be fine, but she added something like: “Choose your friends wisely and you will be fine”. This is when I was coming from Burundi to Kenya to pursue my degree.
I was just 18 and it was my first time traveling alone. Do you ever get that feeling that everything else is going to be different from now on and you get a sense of anxiety just from the idea that things are what they are? That was me. I got here in Nairobi, on my own, and had to attend English classes the following day before transferring to college. For those who know Burundi, it is a French-speaking country. That meant I had to attend English classes for me to get a certificate that indicated that I had completed my English classes, which was a necessity for me to join campus.
The first few days were not easy. I was staying alone and did not have any friends at all and this made things worse because I am that type of person who likes to be around people. It used to be a routine lifestyle for me where I would go to school and then come to my room after. It was a bit depressing but fortunately for me after a few days, I got to meet with other people from my country and at a certain moment, I felt like I was home. It brought up a smile on my face, but I kept remembering the words that my mom told me before leaving home, “Choose your friends wisely” (A story for another day)
But have you ever been in a country where you speak a totally different language from that of the natives, and you do not know how to start a conversation at a times? That was my first culture shock I experienced when I got here. Throughout my childhood, I spoke French and Kirundi (my native language). As a result of this, it was challenging for me when it came to interacting with other people and especially when it came to shopping and bargaining (the shopping lovers can relate). Apart from that, there are other challenges that I met along the way and advantages that I benefited from the new experience. I mean it has been four years now and hey, look who is running a blog in English? Yees, It is meee. Well, there is always a positive side to any experience in life. All new beginnings are good for the soul but can sometimes be a bit scary. I will be sharing with you more of the challenges and benefits in my next post. Stay posted.
I would like to know, how was your experience while moving to a new country or going to study abroad? Please care to share with me your story in the comments section.
Sending sunshine your way,
Have a productive week ahead